Today on the Gut Health Reset Podcast, we are diving into a discussion on your microbiome and obesity with returning guest Dr. Sabine Hazan! The gut microbiome plays a key role in how your body retains weight, much more than most people realize. In fact, Dr. Hazen shares a relevant study on the microbiomes of mice, and how the smallest differences in gut bacteria radically affected the weight and obesity of these mice.
In this episode, we will discuss fatty liver disease, food sensitivities, what you should be eating, gut bacteria, and more with Dr. Hazan!
We answer these questions:
– How is obesity linked to the microbiome?
– Are there any types of bacteria that can help you lose weight?
– How should fatty liver be treated?
– Why you have to prioritize eating whole foods and smaller portions
– What you should know about oat sensitivities
– And more!
Still want to learn more? Schedule with Dr. Barter today!
About Dr. Sabine Hazan:
Dr. Sabine Hazan is a renowned gastroenterologist and researcher, creator of ProgenaBiome, a state-of-the-art genetic research sequencing laboratory, and author of Let’s Talk Sh!t. Recently, she released a groundbreaking study on Covid and how it can alter the microbiome.
As a specialist in gastroenterology, internal medicine, and hepatology, Dr. Hazan has used her expertise in many regards over the last two decades. Dr. Hazan is also the Founder & CEO of the Malibu Specialty Center and Ventura Clinical Trials, where she conducts and oversees clinical trials for cutting-edge research on various medical issues. Dr. Hazan is a top clinical investigator for multiple pharmaceutical companies, and also acts as the series editor of Practical Gastroenterology on the microbiome, a peer review journal that reaches 18,000 gastroenterologists. She was and is a speaker for World Congress of Digestive Disease, MAGI, Microbiome Congress, International Drug Discovery Science and Technology Conference and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology).
Her book: https://amzn.to/3AjNG4B
Her website: https://progenabiome.com/
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Dr. Ann-Marie Barter is a Functional Medicine and Chiropractic Doctor at Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic. She is the clinic founder of Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic that has two offices: one in Longmont and one in Denver. They treat an array of health conditions overlooked or under-treated by conventional medicine, called the “grey zone”. https://altfammed.com/
Dr. Sabine Hazan: So basically, that’s that’s what we need to be aware of is stop the push of marketing products and start slowing down and understanding, but also more precision medicine. We need precision medicine. We need to pay attention to the individual cases because the individual cases get us to the answers.
Intro: Are you struggling with bloating, gas constipation and fatigue but don’t know what’s causing these problems? The Gut Health Reset Podcast with Dr. Ann-Marie Barter dives deep into the root causes behind these issues that start in the gut. This podcast will give you the knowledge you need to heal your gut and reset your health.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: Dr. Hasan, it is so great to have you back. It was so interesting our conversation on top of it. So I am very excited to dig into obesity and the microbiome because a lot of people talk about how the gut is very much linked to obesity, but no one really goes any farther than that. So I’m very excited to dig in. So thank you so much for being with us. Yeah, thank you for having me. Absolutely. So how is obesity linked to the microbiome?
Dr. Sabine Hazan: So I did a study with Dr. Ornella Selman, who is very world renowned in microbiology and at University of Arizona Cancer Center. And basically, what we looked at was giving mice to groups of mice where one we gave palm oil and the other one we gave soybean oil. And we discovered that while we gave the palm oil to one group, you know, there were skinny mice and the soybean to the other, one of the groups that had became obese, but more importantly, on their microbiome because we were involved with basically collecting the stools and analyzing the microbiome. Andreas pulpwood, it was like his passion to work with this professor. And so and he’s been working with this professor for years. So he said, we need to analyze the stools of mice. And you know, I’m into the human feces, not mice. But I said, OK, I’m game. And so what we discovered was actually that when you do feed fat to the mice, they became obese, which we knew, but also their microbiome changed. The microbes that were that we think of as healthy essentially became lost. So we lost groups and species of microbes. And that’s basically, you know, the Clostridium Zell loads election was fair to say that the Firmicutes were lost. None of this. That’s for the common for people that don’t understand microbes would understand. But for us as scientists, it was kind of an introduction to the fact that here you are, you’re putting fat in the body of a mouse. And then that mouse develops a microbiome. Dysbiosis, which set the premise for is that what happens to human beings? It does. Do we start giving fat to human beings? And remember, the fat of 20 years ago on the fat of today is completely different. You know, the Beatles 20 years ago, the milk of 20 years ago is completely different than what we have today. So is that fat changing the microbiome of people and therefore they become obese and are not able to lose weight? And you know, I have a patient of mine who approached me. He’s eight hundred and eighty pounds. And he said, Look, I’ve been looking at the mouse studies because there was a study. Jessica Ruddy, basically, that showed that if you put stools from a skinny mouse, from a skinny mouse, from a fat mouse to a skinny mouse with skinny mouse becomes fat. Right? And so the question becomes if you transplant and vice versa, you could think that the same thing applies, right? So if you transplant a skinny person that’s healthy and the top has a good microbiome to a person that’s overweight and eight hundred and eighty pounds. Could that help that person lose weight? And so this patient approached me to look at his microbiome and to start that process. Of course, it takes any time you start thinking of doing fecal transplants for anything else. And as Parkinson’s autism, you have to submit what’s called individual. It’s an indie, basically investigative new drug protocol to the FDA, and essentially DOD protocol gets approved once it gets approved. We get the green light to do fecal transplants. So that case never really happened for that patient because we’re not there yet, and COVID happened, so we were busy. But you know, for this patient who was actually, you know, he went through multiple centers, went through to Cornell, et cetera, to try or Stanford rather to try to fix his obesity. He was put on on a restrictive diet. He was watched. He was they really tried to drop his weight. You know, one wonders at that point, is it that he’s messed up his microbiome completely and. Therefore, needs a new set of microbes to start fighting and regrowing, you know, I like to think of the microbiome, you know, in our gut, like our little gardens. You’re wiping out the you’re wiping out the ground and then you’re replanting, you’re turning around and planting seeds. And that’s what basically it is. So does this patient need a new garden to restart? Maybe. I mean, that’s why I think we need to advance the science and advance medicine on that, on those cases and push the envelope to say, Let’s start, let’s start seeing. I mean, here’s a guy who eight hundred and eighty pounds, he wants to do it. He’s he doesn’t like his life the way it is. I think it’s up to us as physicians to try to help, and that’s what I’m trying to do, not figure it out. So we looked at his microbiome and we also looked at the microbiome of multiple overweight patients that had a hard time losing weight. And we did discover some kind of this dysbiotic formula. It’s too early in the stage at this stage to kind of say, yes, this is the answer or not, but you know, I’m still looking. So what we do with our clinical trials is basically as people come and we start analyzing, we put them in a category like this microbiome with autism, this microbiome, Parkinson’s, older folks, younger folks, vegan, vegetarian, Indian from India, in the end, from from America, you know. So I think all that makes at some point we’re going to have a better picture. Right now, we’re seeing kind of a big picture. We need to just zone in a little bit more and analyze everything carefully. And I think it has, you know, it helps to understand these microbes. It helps to understand, you know, I don’t think it’s at the level of artificial intelligence or say, I think the computerized system and bioinformatics are definitely helpful, but I think it needs the human eye to look at all these microbes because all these microbes all tell a story. And it’s a story that may have been, you know, seen somewhere by a physician. And I think it’s not only just one physician. I think it needs to be multiple physicians. You know, I work with a lot of talented physicians from Dr. Jordan from UCLA, and you see top neurologists in the world, in my opinion, to a doctor. But this kritsky, who’s the top psychiatrist to, you know, so many infectious disease, amazing narrative and fact and fatty liver at Cedars-Sinai. I work with him. We’re looking, we’re going to be looking at fatty liver microbiome. And so that’s the future, in my opinion. But it takes a lot of people to look at all that.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: It sure does. Have you seen any sort of. Patterns with bacteria that help people lose weight.
Dr. Sabine Hazan: Not so far. There is one group of bacteria that maybe we could say it’s present in those people. So the same time that we’ve analyzed overweight patients, we’ve also analyzed patients that are hyper metabolisms. I like to call them the kid that eats 10000 calories a day and doesn’t gain a pound. I want to see that microbiome because I want the microbiome, because, you know, after trying to get pregnant on all these medications that they gave me, I’m, you know, I messed up my microbiome a little bit. And, you know, I used to be the girl that would eat, you know, a whole tuna melt that not gained a pound. And now I’m eating a cucumber and getting a pouch. So something changed in my microbiome as well. That basically makes it that it’s difficult to lose weight. Also, the change in environment, if I go to France and I start eating the biggest in France, I’m fine. I don’t get gain weight. I come back to America, I’m eating the bread and I’m gaining weight. So something’s there in the food, in the supervision of the food that you have to ask, is that also contributing to our weight gain and our inability to lose weight? So it’s not just the bacteria, it’s really figuring out what is causing the the killing of the bacteria that we may think is is involved with weight loss.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: So and I may have missed this when you said it, but on the mouse study, did you find that both subsets of mice gained weight with both the soybean oil or yeah.
Dr. Sabine Hazan: No. It was actually the soybean that was that gain the weight.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: OK, that was the soybean. That’s so that’s so interesting. OK, so we don’t and we don’t really know what bacteria are to blame yet for the obesity epidemic. Correct. I wish we
Dr. Sabine Hazan: did and even die. I mean, we’re going to be figuring it out. I mean, look at how far we’ve done. But of course, COVID put a damper on everything on obesity, on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, all of it. So I think I think we will. It’s just a matter of time. Right now, my focus with this, with this lab is really to figure out how to get us out of it.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: So we know that when there’s obesity involved, we have metabolic syndrome, right, so associated with high cholesterol, high blood sugar. And also it can be associated with higher liver enzymes, which can lead to something called fatty liver. What has your research been? Because you’ve researched fatty liver quite a bit and have followed that lead with that.
Dr. Sabine Hazan: So I’ve done a lot of clinical trials on fatty liver with potential treatments for four fatty liver, whether it’s at the level of a biologic or a monoclonal antibody or a, you know, hormonal treatment. Definitely, fatty liver has a has a big interest, right? Because 25 years ago and this is what I said at the beginning, the fact that we eight twenty five years ago and the milk we drank twenty five years ago is different from the milk and the fat we eat today. And the big question becomes is, is the fat different? Has the fat accumulated some toxins in it that then becomes toxic for the fatty liver? So I remember when I was a resident at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Eugene Shipp, who wrote the book on Hepatology, was my mentor and he was the mentor for a lot of my friends. And we used to see fatty liver that right back in the days of HIV and hepatitis C. And the focus was really HIV and hepatitis C because that was not at a small risk of killing people right where they would end up and end stage liver failure. So I remember fatty liver was always one of those that, you know, my attending would say, don’t even worry about fatty liver, they’re going to be fine, right? But they were fine back then when the fat was different. They’re not fine now. Now, fatty liver patients end up in liver failure, the same as the same percentage as what? And probably a bit higher. And Dr. Nerden would talk to you about more about that. So I encourage you to invite in Dr. Mays inserted at Cedars-Sinai, and he will tell you that it is on the rise and stage liver disease occurs in people with fatty liver. One wonders if maybe the fat one wonders if maybe the microbiome is altered and therefore the. Teria, so, for example, in the fatti in the in the mice studies, we discovered low class tritium, low Firmicutes and low like Parasite could those three bacteria. The disappearance of all these three bacteria be the culprit? Why fatty liver is on the rise? That’s what we need to look at. So the same way that we did those dot mouse study, we need to look at. Let’s look at the fat and the microbiome of fatty liver patients and see if they’re lacking those microbes, right? But of course, who’s going to invest in that unless you’re developing a product? And that’s that’s the big challenge with clinical research in the microbiome space is that it is an individualized. It is looking for a formula that is not there yet. We’re the beginning. You know, most investors like a product like, think about it, a probiotic drink and they can like flip. Probiotics are good for you. Let’s start the marketing. Let’s put a million dollars into marketing. Let’s sell this probiotic drink, right? And then they come to find out later. Probiotic drink is not doing anything right. Then by the time we get this probiotic drink, we start testing it in our lab. We do the clinical trials. We find out, well, these probiotic drinks are not doing anything right. So or dodgem in particular. So I think, you know, the technology, the trying, the marketing of these products goes way faster than the science, and we need to follow the science to get to before we sell these products. Because the danger is when you sell a product that says, Hey, guess what? This product is improving your microbiome or you’re losing weight with this product, but then it does the opposite and it causes you something else or damages the microbiome. Then you’ve really there’s no recourse on that, and you will never really know because nobody’s really tested that right. So I think with the technology of looking at the microbiome as we’re developing these assays to help people figure out their obesity, their Crohn’s, their Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, the autism, as we develop more and more acids and we’re just at the beginning, I always tell people with mild one of three hundred thousand, I’m trying to speed it up as much as possible, these other labs that are trying to do the stop. And but the data is still very, you know, very new. I mean, you know, we didn’t know about the mice studies and fat until we did that study. So many people struggle
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: with bloating, bowel issues, brain fog, fatigue. You might not even have any gut issues, but did you know the cause of it could be food sensitivities or gut infections? What I have done is I have brought a talented functional nutritionist into my practice. We have very similar training in the nutritional world. And her name is Alexis Appleby. She is awesome. So you can head on over to our website, Alt Alti Fam Fam Med Med and have a consultation with her and schedule so that she can help you get to the root cause of your problems.
Dr. Sabine Hazan: So basically, that’s that’s what we need to be aware of is stop the push of marketing products and start slowing down and understanding, but also more precision medicine. We need precision medicine. We need we need to pay attention to the individual pieces because the individual cases get us to the answers.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: And are you seeing a huge increase in fatty liver overall?
Dr. Sabine Hazan: Oh yes, yes. And a huge increase in obesity overall. I mean, look at, you know, twenty five years ago. And if you look at the map and that’s usually what I like to show on my presentation, if you look at the map of the world, 50 percent, we look at the map of America. First of all, 50 percent of the population is overweight and then probably about 30 percent is morbidly obese, right? And then you look at the map of the world, well, it’s pretty much starting to creep up. You know, like Australia was not an obese country, and now they’re starting to become obese and then the terror body. Dr Michael Gordon from USC did an amazing study on looking at the population of kids and adults in Kiribati island in the Pacific, who used to eat fruits and vegetables, were healthy non diabetics and basically now their diet change, they globalize their foods and started eating a lot of chips and sodas. And of course, with that, obesity increases because they’re no longer fishing. They’re no longer hunting. They’re no longer growing planting. They’re counting on other. Tourists have just subsidize them with food, and so that changes the microbiome and the culture, so these kids, there’s a high, high rate of mortality in the population from complications of diabetes and heart disease, etc. They’re also on an island, so it’s very difficult to get the kind of care we get here in America. So if you look at these islands, the rate of obesity is high. That’s why it’s important in a way to protect these islands during COVID because they are at risk of catching COVID. Because the the. The risk is higher in patients that are have a weight problem.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: Absolutely. That’s fascinating. So it’s really coming down. What I hear you saying is it’s really coming down to the processing of our food, to the chemicals in our food that’s really affecting and destroying our microbiota. So kind of the lesson that I’m hearing is eat real food,
Dr. Sabine Hazan: you know, quality. It really is, I think, you know, unfortunately, the FDA is stretched, right? So when I show your paper where basically, you know, our foods that we think has a certain bacteria doesn’t have that bacteria, you know who’s checking that right? Who’s checking all? I mean, the population is big. And of course, there’s products that are just coming out and out. But I think at some point we need to stop the mass consumption. I think places that are selling mass products, you know, the gallon of cream cheese that you’re buying at Costco, you don’t need to buy a gallon of cream cheese because pretty soon you’re going to be wearing that cream cheese. So maybe we just need that small little container and just chain just a little bit more diversity and less of the quantity. And I think that’s the problem is we’ve become too much. Too much of anything is that, you know, too much alcohol. Is that too much coffee? Is that too much fat? Is that everything in moderation is OK, but too much of anything. So I think overproduction and with the overproduction, not enough quality super. I think we need to, you know, twenty twenty two and an above needs to be years of quality, supervising the quality, supervising the milk, making sure that the milk that I’m drinking is actually not in fact or the the foods that I’m eating more. And I think it starts at the farming level. I’m a big pusher of regenerative farming. I think regenerative farmers do a very good job of keeping their farm relatively clean in a way, you know, they’re not having these cows one on top of the other and diseases, you know, when you put, you know, a small little space and you you put a bunch of chickens all together in there and expect them to give you eggs, that quality of those eggs are not going to be good. You know it. I mean, it’s just it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Same thing with the cows. I mean, if you stick them all and you want to eat your beef after eating a beef from a farm, that’s like all stock in massive production. That’s not a good idea, either. So that’s why there’s been that push of like going vegan, going vegetarian, going plant based. And people have been noticing differences with all these diets, mainly because of the fact that I think the quality of farming itself has a lot to be to be desired. And then on top of that, the pesticide on the soil, I mean, we could go on. I mean, it starts with the soil. If you destroy the microbiome in the soil and the cows eating that soil and then you and you inject some antibiotics in your cows. What do you expect? I mean, it wasn’t up until two years ago that the FDA stopped the injection of of antibiotics to cows, right? And that was the process of trying to make the cows fatter. Right. So but the problem is those cows got these antibiotics. It’s in their bodies, it’s in the fat. You’re eating the beef and the fat and the fat. You’re essentially ingesting those antibiotics, right? And so when a kid comes in and he’s had see that and all he did was eat a bunch of hamburgers. You got to ask was the hamburger full of antibiotics? And therefore you kill this microbiome and therefore got diff? So that’s why you asked the questions.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: That’s a great point. You also bring up one other point in your book, there’s there’s a couple of things. Your book is awesome, but there’s there are in it’s really funny. It’s just kind of tongue in cheek so that you bring up a couple really important points that I’ve seen in practice, but I don’t think anybody’s talking about them. The first thing is talking about some of the food sensitivities, and you kind of go through some of the common ones like dairy that you bring in one that’s interesting. You talk about oats and this is dear to my heart because I definitely have that sensitivity. But I’ve also seen multiple people in my practice also have that sensitivity. So can you talk a little bit about being sensitive to oats as well?
Dr. Sabine Hazan: Yeah. So I test food allergies like you do, right? And you know, food allergies in the past wasn’t as rampant as it is right now. Right? So when you see, you know, an increase in sensitivity, you have to wonder, is it even really good for us? And what’s the benefit of it? And is it good for some and not for others? I have that sensitivity as well. So that’s the main reason, and I think it happened to me. You know, I took antibiotics as a kid and probably destroyed my microbiome. And, you know, so. And then, of course, trying to get pregnant, all these medications. So I think you wonder if you destroy your microbiome to the point that you’re lacking the bacteria that probably metabolize the oat. And that’s of course, that’s a very simple way of explaining it. But I think, you know, to me, if you can explain science and simplify it, then you don’t understand science. And I have to agree with Albert Einstein on that. If you can’t, if you can’t explain it to a five year old, then you don’t understand it. And so to me, it that’s that’s the easiest way that I process it is basically, maybe we’re missing the microbes that don’t digest or maybe we weren’t supposed to eat those, those foods.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: Well said, Well, I just love having you back. I don’t want to take up any more of your time today. You have just been such a wealth of information. I mean, your book says it all. So it is just such a fun read. So thank you so much for being back on the show today. Really appreciate it. Appreciate it. And where can people find your book if they want to sign up on Amazon.com?
Dr. Sabine Hazan: Let’s talk S.H. thoughtI because I took I published it during the pandemic and I said to myself, Well, you know what? The Panda is? Just that. So I said, I’m just going to call it that. And also, I didn’t want to sugarcoat it. It was sugarcoating Microbiol.. You know, let’s call it what it is, right? When we do fecal transplant, it is fecal material we’re processing. Yes, we could call it microbiome microbiota transplant to make it sexier or even reflow realization. I changed it to visualization because I was constantly reminding myself I play with pieces. My mom was like telling me to stop doing what I do as a job. So I said, Mom, I’m just formalizing the gut. It’s like bringing flowers into the gut. So, but you know, I wanted people to know I wanted to people to also pay attention to their microbiome. So every time they flush, they’re thinking, Oh, I remember seeing this in her book that it shouldn’t be floating, it should sink, or it shouldn’t be this color. And so I think that’s the main thing, because if you pay attention to your stools, that’s the first hint that you’re going to have something right? How many Parkinson’s patients have we seen where the first symptom is constipation? How many, you know, MS patients, they had trouble swallowing and then they had some digestive problems and GI problems and constipation again. So. And autism, you know, how many kids have diarrhea or have constipation or abdominal pain? So I think those the bowels tell you it is a bit of a taboo because it is, you know, it’s dirty. You’re not supposed to touch it. And so probably, I don’t know in the big picture, maybe that’s why it was put in the secrets of life or in stools, so nobody touches it. But I think we need to touch it to kind of understand. So it’s in my ways. It’s funny because when I say it in the book, I was five years old and I used to pray to God to help me understand the meaning of life. Little did I see God as a sense of humor because he took me into this. I’m sorry. I say it’s got to. And so. Are some things we’re seeing we can’t ignore there. So thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Ann-Marie Barter: It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for being here.
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